The 3 accused in the Walkerville massacre and torture. Mbele is on the left and Radebe on the right. Photo: Jorge Henrique Martins, VOZ PORTUGUESA
Two young black males gagged a crying 12-year old white boy and afterwards drowned him in a bath filled with boiling water. The accused yesterday admitted guilt to the murder with smiles as they appeared in the Vereeniging regional court, reports the Johannesburg Afrikaans daily, Beeld.
In a typical South African black-on-white atrocity, the boy and his entire family were massacred on 1 October 2011 in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg. Amaro Jose Viana, of Portuguese descent, his mother Geraldine (42) and father Tony (53) were killed in an attack by the family’s gardener Petrus Radebe (24), Sipho Mbele (21) and Sphiwe David Motaung (20). A fourth black person, a minor whose name was not published and appartently the son of Petrus Radebe, also participated in the attack. All four admitted their guilt on all charges against them.
According to the accused, “we mutually raped Geraldine Viana”. Sipho Mbele raped her first while Petrus Radebe helped to restrain her by standing on her face. Afterwards Radebe raped her too.
Beeld reports that Charmaine Castleman, an attorney appearing for the accused, read a statement in court explaining that the three men burgled the Viana residence to rob them of their possessions and “to get Geraldine Viana back” for the way she had treated them.
The white family’s dog apparently barked tremendously during the burglary. The animal was killed by disembowelling him.
According to Beeld’s court reporter, 12-year-old Amaro’s dad Tony Viana first arrived at the burgled home. The three black men attacked him from behind with a machete and a golf club, after which he was forced to unlock the family safe. He was then tied up.
The boy and his mother arrived later and were tied up in separate rooms. Then the raping started. When Radebe and Mbele had finished raping Geraldine, Mbele placed a cushion over her face to muffle her screams and shot her with a pistol obtained from her husband.
The accused stated: “Afterwards Sipho took the gun and shot Tony in the head.” Mbele and Radebe then went to Amaro’s room and realised that the boy would be able to recognise them.
The Viana family in happier times: From left, Geraldine Viana, Amaro, Gabriela Correia, Tony's daughter from a previous marriaga, and Tony Viana. Photo: Facebook
“We went to the bathroom and turned on the tap. We went to fetch him and gagged him because he was crying. We forced him into the bath face down, knowing that he would drown.”
From forensic evidence tendered in court, it was clear that the boy was held down in boiling water. The exact cause of his death has however not yet been determined by state pathologists. The boy’s hands and feet were tied.
According to Beeld, “Mbele and Radebe admitted guilt on charges of burglary with the intent to steal, robbery with aggravating circumstances, the possession of an unlicensed firearm, the illegal possession of ammunition and intentional damage to goods.”
The accused will be sentenced on 6 September. As the death penalty was abolished in South Africa, they will probably get lengthy prison sentences but could be out on parole within five to ten years.
The vast majority of South Africans, black and white, support the reinstatement of the death penalty, but the liberal Constitutional Court has stated that it would be unconstitutional. The ruling ANC and liberal opposition DA are also opposed to the death penalty.
A search of South African newswires in English for this story has returned an empty result. Until now, only Beeld has reported on the court appearance of the three murderers – in Afrikaans, which is only spoken in South Africa, although easily comprehensible to Dutch-speakers.